With Mylissa Lew, Lead Artist and Manager
at POE brow + skin studio
Where are you located and where do you work?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California. I currently live about 45 minutes north of Berkeley. I proudly work at POE brow + skin studio, located in North Berkeley.
Can you give a little information about your background as a brow artist?
I have been a brow artist for about eight years now. I started beauty school about a semester after high school—I got my esthetics license a year to the date after my high school graduation. I attended the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology, where I was connected with my first job as an esthetician at a five star salon in SoMa, San Francisco.
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There, I met Amanda Poe, who became my mentor and is now the owner of POE Brow + Skin Studio, where I’ve been for the last five years. I’m currently a lead artist, educator and studio manager. In the past, I’ve taken classes with artists like Kelley Baker, certified for brow lamination through Thuya NYC, and have also been certified for lash lifts through Sugarlash PRO and Elleebana. In my career, I’ve had the honor of working on quite a few Bay Area celebrities as well.
What inspired you to become a brow artist? Did you first start out as an esthetician?
I started out as an esthetician. I loved all things body waxing, skincare and brows. What first inspired me to become an esthetician was my passion for makeup—wedding and event makeup specifically. I figured if I could prep a bride’s skin and brows, it would only make her day of make up that much better.
While I always felt passionate about makeup, brows slowly became my niche. Working under Amanda and seeing her unique approach to shaping brows inspired me to focus more on my natural eye for symmetry and detail. To me, makeup only ever looked as good as the brows. Over the years, I have since decided that brows are where my passion truly lies, and no longer do wedding or event makeup.
Shaping brows is such a specific skill that once I learned how to, I was determined to master it. I have heard so many horror stories from clients and friends about not feeling heard during their services, and I truly wanted to be an artist who gave my clients exactly what they asked for.
What brow philosophy do you stand by?
My philosophy is that brow trends may come and go, but well shaped brows are absolutely timeless. I believe in leaving brows as full as possible while still having shape. Because of this, my clients are able to go longer than two to three weeks between appointments without feeling like they need to grab their own tweezers at home.
What is your favorite brow treatment?
I absolutely LOVE brow lamination! When done correctly, it just enhances anyone’s brows nearly instantly. I’ve been working with some clients for years, and haven’t been able to achieve the level of fullness I can achieve with them during one lamination.
What is your secret to full and beautiful brows?
Leaving them in the hands of the professionals! I see my clients every four to six weeks instead of the typical two to three weeks. This allows for the brows to grow in fully between visits, and allows me to continue to leave behind little baby hairs bit by bit until we’ve achieved the level of fullness we are working towards. I encourage my clients to use brow growth serums nightly and only tweeze hairs way outside of the density line of their brows if they absolutely have to. `
What are your favorite tools to use in the treatment room and why?
I use these trimmers from Yegi beauty that you have to press close instead of open like scissors. They are so much nicer on my hands and are incredibly precise. For tweezers, I love using tweezers that I get at the pharmacy near my studio. They have padding in the fingers which makes it easy for me to speed tweeze without potentially callusing up my fingertips.
What is your favorite part about working for POE brow + skin studio?
It’s not every day that you find a work environment that genuinely values work life balance and your own mental health. Our mission state is “A Safe Space for ALL,” and that includes us artists. I can truly be myself at POE, and if for whatever reason I’m having a hard day, I can be transparent with the team here and they will have my back and support me in whatever ways I need.
We don’t have to say we’re family every day to know that we are, and I absolutely love that our clients see the genuine bond the four of us share day in and day out. There are no egos at POE—we all have our strong suits, we all cheer each other on, and we share the wealth of knowledge we have because we know there is no such thing as competition, especially between us. There’s room for all of us at the top.
If one of my clients can’t see me, I encourage them to see one of our other artists, and none of us would ever consider it “stealing” a client. I have worked with these women for the better part of eight years, that alone speaks volumes to me. I feel so honored to work with such strong, skilled, wonderful women every single day, and I am constantly grateful for the safe space and second home Amanda has spent years curating. There aren’t many spaces like ours in the Bay Area, so it’s also quite a treat to meet people who travel near and far to work with us.